Hillary Clinton’s campaign is now trying to tell the world that Iowa and New Hampshire meant nothing; that it’s onto Nevada, and then South Carolina and the south, where her long ties to the black community will result in convincing wins, and the “Bern” will get smoked.
Except, not quite….
First of all, in the Nevada caucus, where she was long believed to have a huge lead, there are now some polls that suggest the race may be even.We’ll find out soon.
But it’s the vaunted “firewall” in South Carolina that should make her most nervous. About 55% of the expected Democrat voters in the state are black.
In 2010, a virtually unknown black man, one Alvin Greene, ran away with the Democrat nomination for the US Senate, trouncing a long time white Democrat pol, one Vic Rawl, 60-40.
As nearly 100% of Greene’s support came from the black community, despite his total lack of qualifications for the US Senate, let alone dog catcher, this lets us make a few assumptions about the black electorate in South Carolina.
First of all, Rawl, though white, had near universal support among the black Democratic establishment in the state. James Clyburn even suggested that Green drop out of the race. This suggests that all those black endorsements that Hillary is collecting, and touting, are worthless.
It also suggests that black voters in the state are easily swayed by an irrational, and/or or exuberant argument. In Greene’s case, two years after electing the first black president, it was the idea of electing the first black senator ever from a southern state.
Bernie Sanders is not black, but he offers them an exciting program of lots of free stuff, as well as a worldview of the US as institutionally racist that is way beyond anywhere Hillary has gone.
So don’t be surprised if the firewall ends up resembling a leaky dike, with Clinton and most of the Black Caucus attempting to hold back the waters.
If South Carolina blacks can hand a primary to an Alvin Greene, it is not difficult to imagine them embracing a Bernie Sanders.